Monday, October 26, 2015

Ghostly Art

Many of us have heard the Scottish Prayer :

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

My Mother used to say it to us when we were children. 

A ghoul is an evil spirit and comes to us from Arabian Mythology. They are associated with graveyards but dwell in the desert They are shape-shifters often taking on the guise of a hyena and are known to feast on human flesh. Ghouls will also eat the dead and have been known to take on the form of the dead person they most recently dined upon. 
            "Amine Discovered with the Goule", from the story of Sidi Nouman, of theOne Thousand and One Nights.

Ghosts are the apparitions of the dead that manifest to the living. They can be human or animal. Ghosts have been described as being invisible, barely visible and wispy or very lifelike. Ghosts are solitary and can haunt places, objects, or people they were associated with in life. 
                                                         Hamlet and the Ghost by Henry Fuseli

The Cihuateteo or Divine Women are the spirits of women who die during childbirth. The Aztec believe that child birthing is a battle and women who die giving birth are treated like brave and glorious fallen warriors. The remains of such women ere often carried into battle by warriors. The Cihuateteo accompany the setting sun. There are 5 sacred days where the Cihuateteo descend to earth haunting at crossroads looking for children to steal and take with them in place of their own which was lost to them upon their death. 

Brutus and the Ghost of Caesar. Copperplate engraving by Edward Scriven from a painting by Richard Westall
This week enjoy some Ghostly Art.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Witching Hour Art

Black cats, pumpkins and this week Witches. 

                                    ArtistTerri Ann Foss 

The Dictionary describes a witch as: 
1. A woman who is supposed to have evil or wicked magical powers

2. A person who practices magic or sorcery, a sorceress 

3. An ugly or mean old woman, hag

4. A person who uses a divining rod, dowser

5. A practitioner of witchcraft

It comes from the old English words wicca - sorcerer and wicce - sorceress (that just feels backwards to me) which came from an older German word wikko which translates from necromancer or sorcerer. That comes from an even older European word weik which means to separate or divide and weyk which means to set aside as holy, consecrate, sacrifice. Sprinkle the translation with a word from the Dutch of wichelen, to foretell. Conjure up the ancient German word wikkjaz (you are going to love this one) one who wakes the dead. Last add two shakes of the old Gothic word weihs which means sacred and you have the recipe for what became witch. 
                                                  The Three Witches from Shakespeares Macbeth by Daniel Gardner

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Pumpkin

Last week we looked at Black Cats this week we shift focus to Pumpkins

Pumpkins come from the squash family 

and are native to North America. We are all familiar with pumpkin pie but did you know that the pumpkin in cans of Pumpkin Puree is not the same pumpkin used for "Jack-O-Lanterns"? The delicious and convenient puree in a can is made from a different variety of pumpkin or winter squash while carving pumpkins are from a variety called Connecticut Field variety.

The word pumpkin comes to us from the Greek word pepon which became pompon through the French with the British making it pumpoin and finally in America it became pumpkin. 

These bright, cheerful squash grow on every continent but Antarctica. 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins are produced each year. 

The carving of Pumpkins for Halloween originated from an Irish myth about a man name "Stingy Jack" or you may know the story by the name "Jack of the Lantern".

The tradition of a carved squash turned lantern came over to America with the Scottish, and immigrants. 

As we continue our look into things associated with Halloween I present The Pumpkin.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Black Cat Enchantment

October is my favorite month.  The weather looks like it is begging fall to come out and play and yet it looks back over its shoulder at summer as it scampers away with a sigh of sadness.  It is a time of hope to me and I welcome the change it promises to bring;  like gifts for Christmas. October is also the home of a favorite Holiday for me, Halloween and all the glorious themes that we associate with  Hallows' eve.  

Black Cats

I have a black cat. His name is Goblin and he came to live with me in October of 2002. I call him my House Panther and he has thumbs.  I did not choose him, he was meant for me. I was on my way to a clients and when I got there they were all outside in the boatyard chasing a mother cat and her three kittens to take them to a Shelter.  I offered to take one home and when they asked which one I said let GOD choose.  So the first kitten they captured was my little black one.  They had not caught any others before I left so he came with me. 

Black Cats 

More male cats are black than female cats.  Most black cats have golden eyes.

                                                              Bombay by Josh Norem
 Goblin has green eyes. 

Folk Superstition

Black cats symbolize good luck in Japan. 

                                      Hishida Shunsō (Japanese 1874-1911) ~ Kuroki Neko (Black Cat)

 Scottish folk believe a black cat arriving at your door brings prosperity. In Great Britain a black cat walking away from you takes away luck but a black cat walking toward you brings good luck with it.  Egyptians believed they could gain favor from the goddess Bast 

if they kept a black cat in their home.  Pirates believe that if a black cat walks aboard the ship and then suddenly departs the ship will sink. 

                                                       Vintage Halloween Greeting Card

In some cultures the black cat was associated with witches and demons. The Pilgrims who were extremely superstitious and would do and say anything to protect their new found religious freedom believed that they were spies and carried  messages from Satan. This vilification of black cats dates back to an ancient religious document known as Vox in Rama, a sort of death warrant for all black cats

This week enjoy Black Cat Enchantment.